NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – State House on Sunday came out in defence of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s foreign travel and asked critics to weigh the benefits of the engagements.
Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said as Kenya’s foremost diplomat, President Kenyatta travels in order to secure world attention to the various development plans that the government may be seeking financing partnership.
“The president has to undertake what is necessary travel and he is doing that. You just have to look at other Heads of State. Secondly we cannot claim the leadership position we have in the region and yet shun our obligations to deal with the regional issues that we need to deal with. The President is called from time to time to deal with these regional issues and he does that. He has been called to deal with the Kenya issue and he has done that,” he told a news conference held at State House.
He noted during the recent trip to Johannesburg where the President attended the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, Kenya managed to seal financing agreements in energy, education including a Sh1.53 trillion (US$1.5billion) financing agreement for the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway from Naivasha to Malaba.
“China-Exim Bank will provide a $1.5 billion loan, 85pc of the financing, while Kenya will provide the balance. The National Treasury and China Exim Bank will soon finalise compliance, before disbursement and the start of construction,” he said
The Standard Gauge Railway remains the single largest investment in Kenya’s economy in the last five decades, and a flagship project of the Jubilee Coalition government’s transformative ambition.
FOCAC is a platform established in Beijing by China and friendly African countries for collective consultation, dialogue and cooperation mechanism. Both China and African nations agreed on the need for a new strategic partnership that would promote ties based on equality and mutual understanding.
The has been concerns over President Kenyatta’s foreign travel with critics noting that has travelled abroad more times in two-and-a-half years than his predecessor Mwai Kibaki did in his entire 10-year reign.
Esipisu also defended the government against criticism of carrying large delegations to international conferences, saying they are necessary to ensure that Kenya negotiates for the best agreement at such international forums.
“As for the nature of delegations, look at what of meting is it and who is been sent to that meeting. I think it would be folly to send two lawyers to COP21 when the US has 150 lawyers to secure its commitments to its agreements, we will just not be able to play in that league, we have got to get our experts out there for the sake of our nation,” said the State House Spokesman.